Psychological therapies for Children and Adolescents

What does Psychological therapies involve?

Psychological therapies involve therapeutic conversations and interactions between Psychologist and child or family. It has been shown to help children and families understand and resolve problems, and make positive change in their lives. There a number of psychological therapies, techniques and approaches, sometimes a combination of interventions are used. Family involvement is important in helping to facilitate change and improvement. Psychological therapy does not involve the use of medication. A typical counselling session will take approximately 60 min depending of the child’s capabilities.

What conditions can be treated at PGV with psychology and hypnotherapy based therapies?

  • Functional digestive problems, including Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Functional Abdominal Pain
  • Rumination
  • Gastro-oesophageal reflux (GOR)
  • Gastroparesis
  • Dyspepsia
  • Aerophagia
  • Dysphagia
  • Oesophageal disorders
  • Behavioural challenges including bowel withholding and ‘Shy Bowel’.
  • Counselling for psychosocial issues associated with chronic disease such as IBD, coeliac disease and chronic liver disease for example.

What are the psychological therapies ?

Cognitive Behavioural therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioural Therapy CBT helps to reduce anxiety and improve children’s mood. The therapy involved teaching children how to identify and manage negative thoughts that cause uncomfortable feelings that influence behaviour. Children are taught to replace negative thinking with thinking that is more appropriate resulting in a positive change in mood and behaviour. CBT has been demonstrated in countless research studies to help children reduce their anxiety, and improve positive feelings of well-being.

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy
Mindfulness based cognitive therapy is similar to CBT, with the exception that is doesn’t involve challenging negative thoughts. Instead children re taught to become aware of the thoughts, and feelings and accepting them, rather than attaching and reacting to them that can result in struggle. Children are also taught meditation and mindfulness exercises to help promote relaxation and positive well-being.

Play Therapy
Play therapy involves using play to help children recognise, identify and verbalise feelings that may be contributing to their anxiety, low mood or challenging behaviour. Play can involve the use of toys, games, which together with talking, helps children work through emotional blockages that may be contributing to their problems It is a fun way for children better understand and manage feelings, conflicts and behaviours.

Hypnosis is a natural mental state that children often get into when they are playing imaginary games or daydream. A child’s mind is full of creativity and imagination, both tools that hypnosis uses.
Hypnotherapy has been found in research studies to help children reduce symptoms and distress associated with tummy problems like Irritable Bowel Syndrome IBS and Functional Abdominal Pain (FAP).

Will Hypnosis Work On My Child?

Children are great candidates for hypnosis. Their unconscious mind is wide open and therefore can take in any suggestions easily and openly. They have vivid imaginations, which makes it much easier for them to respond to hypnosis sessions, access their unconscious and bring about the desired change. As a result, hypnotherapy with children can have effective results very quickly. This makes hypnotherapy the best and safest option. Children are wonderfully receptive to hypnosis. It can be a very positive and empowering experience for them. Remember to always be sure to choose a hypnotherapist who is both comfortable and skilled in working with children

What Can Hypnotherapy Help With?

Hypnosis can be an effective treatment for a huge variety of problems, issues and disorders in children. Common ones include learning problems, academic performance, anxiety, nausea, pain, bedwetting, self-esteem issues, homework struggles, thumb sucking, nightmares and fear of the dark. Also, coping with a traumatic event such as the death of parent or dealing with parent’s divorce can also be helped with hypnosis. Finally, hypnotherapy can also help children with Functional Abdominal Pain and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

What Will A Typical Session Look Like?

  •  At the initial assessment a complete history is taken from the parents, and the youth (if old enough to validly contribute).
  • Children are able to choose to sit on a chair or bed.
  • If a child wants her/his parent present, that’s fine. We make sure that the parent stays with the child till she/he is comfortable and feeling safe.
  • Children are told very directly what is going to be done
  • A variety of techniques that might be used during the sessions might include visualization, stories, puppets, art tools and role-playing.
  • There may be silences. The child may have their eyes open, or closed.
  • We don’t expect children to sit still and actually moving during the hypnosis session doesn’t interfere with the work.
  • Imagery, repetition and humour are frequently used.
  • All suggestions are always positive and in the present tense.
  • For example, “It feels so good to sleep all through the night” instead of “I’m not going to lie awake at night anymore.”

How Old Does My Child Need To Be To Do Hypnotherapy?

We usually work with children aged three and over. As long as your child can focus, ie; watching a full-length movie, then they are old enough to benefit from hypnotherapy

When Should Hypnotherapy Be Avoided?

If the child or adolescent:

  • is very seriously emotionally disturbed or dissociated,
  • cannot follow directions,
  • is too frightened to relax
  • has epilepsy

Children & Youth’s Reactions to Hypnotherapy

  • They love it because it uses their own power.
  • It’s mysterious and magical.
  • Learning how to go into a trance is, for most children, a skill that once is learned, they never forget.
  • Children respond to Hypnotherapy with enjoyment, pride and sometimes a shrug of “no big deal”.
  • They find interesting, and weird… good weird.
  • Sometimes a child will not want to talk about the experience, which should be respected.
  • Teens report enjoying Hypnotherapy for the opportunity to take a break from stress: they like the relaxation, the vivid imagery, and the sense of control.

Things You Should Know About Your Childs Hypnotherapy Session

  • Hypnotherapy is completely safe; there are no side effects.
  • Hypnosis cannot make your child do anything against their will.
  • The session is totally child centered. Talk with the child not to them or about them.
  • Each session lasts between one hour and one hour thirty minutes.
  • All work is carried out in total confidence.